by Max Akroyd
Another thing that fades away with this occupation is the ability to enjoy being away from home. A couple of days’ change of scene is fine, but any longer and I’d be climbing the walls with stress about a major, world-changing issue – like the health of my parsnip seedlings..! It’s this all-consuming nature that would make subsistence farming pretty wretched if you didn’t choose to do it.
In Brittany, growth rates are usually explosive at this time of year – with annual weeds swamping optimism and the grass growing as fast as you can cut it. But this very warm, dry spell is helpfully keeping things in check a bit. Even those other great hope-munchers, the slugs and snails, are in abeyance. In nature there’s always a pay back though, and yesterday I was standing in the twilight watering things, instead of doing something useful like talking over my wife’s favourite TV programme.
The seed beds are now dust dry. Any more sowing direct now means more watering, so I’m going to hold off for the rest of this (dry) week. I’m also not convinced that there won’t be another frost, so that rules out another tier of tender planting outs.
What remains are the ranks of second wave brassicas. Everything sown in October (cauliflowers, Portuguese cabbages) is already in the ground, but there are trays and trays of kales, summer cabbages and brussel sprouts ready for the off. If I plant them through plastic they will have damp soil to spread their roots into and a wash or two with seaweed solution should see them through.